Manchester United's Antony, second right, celebrates with his teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Europa League playoff second leg soccer match between Manchester United and Barcelona at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Dave Thompson)

Manchester United Wins EFL Cup

Manchester United defeated Newcastle 2-0 to win the EFL Cup final.


United dominated throughout the match. They put their foot on the gas and never let off, flooring themselves to victory.

Manchester’s first shot on target came in the thirteenth minute when striker Wout Weghorst managed to get a shot off in the box. Weghorst’s shot lacked pace, bouncing straight toward Newcastle keeper Loris Karius.

Karius was one of the game’s major headlines. First-string Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope was banned from the match after receiving a red card during their February 18th matchup against Liverpool. Second-choice goalkeeper Martin Dubravka was unavailable, as he was cup-tied. Dubravka appeared in the EFL Cup for Manchester United earlier this season while on loan.

With both keepers unavailable, Newcastle started third-choice goalie Karius. Karius famously started Liverpool’s 3-1 Champions League final defeat against Real Madrid.

The goalkeeper last played 728 days ago, starting a 2021 Bundesliga match for Union Berlin. His rust showed throughout the match.

Manchester United opened the scoring in the 33rd minute. Marcus Rashford was shoved down by Bruno Guimares outside Newcastle’s box, leading to a free kick. Luke Shaw looped the free kick to Casemiro, who put it down just under Karius’s outstretched hands.


VAR checked the goal for an offside infraction, but referee David Coote discovered Casemiro behind Newcastle right-back Kieran Trippier. Coote gave United the 1-0 lead.

United’s second goal came just six minutes later. Weghorst secured the ball from the air and drove toward Newcastle’s penalty box. He snuck the ball through three Newcastle defenders to Rashford, whose shot hit off Sven Botman to loop over Karius. Botman deflected the ball just enough to credit himself with an own goal.


Manchester managed to keep the pressure on through the first half. Weghorst rocketed a 49th-minute shot from outside the box. Karius’s acrobatics barely managed to stop a 3-0 Manchester United lead going into halftime.

The second half brought tactical substitutions. Newcastle brought on striker Alexander Isak for Sean Longstaff, choosing to switch to a 4-2-4 and get back in the game. In response, Manchester United brought on defensive right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

The attacking change gave Newcastle some life, with a handful of scoring chances unluckily failing to find the back of the net.

In response, United manager Erik Ten Hag opted to move Rashford, the club’s fastest player, centrally. In the 70th minute, Ten Hag substituted Marcel Sabitzer and Scott McTominay on for Fred and Weghorst. The move brought Sabitzer into the attacking midfield spot, pushing Bruno Fernandes to left wing. Rashford moved centrally.

The change in tactics reinvigorated United, and it never looked like Newcastle had a real chance for the rest of the match. Newcastle’s closest opportunity came in the 92nd minute when a corner kick led to Matt Richie nearly looping in a header. Manchester United keeper David De Gea managed to find the ball late, deflecting it in the knick of time. United held on at the end, defeating Newcastle 2-0.

This is Manchester United’s first trophy win in six years. Their last major victory came in 2017 when the club defeated Ajax in the Europa League final.

About Connor O'Bryan

Connor O'Bryan is a world soccer reporter for ESPN Gainesville. He also sometimes covers baseball and other sports. He has previously written for WUFT Gainesville and for Atrium Magazine. Connor also cohosts the "Off The Bar Podcast", a student driven podcast that focuses on the global soccer landscape.

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